It's Science: Earworms Make the Best Comic Book Trailers
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It's Science: Earworms Make the Best Comic Book Trailers

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Seriously Random Lists | February 27, 2014 | Comments ()


Last week, Guardians of the Galaxy released the greatest trailer ever in the history of the universe. That’s a scientific designation, by the way, it’s not opinion. But as I delved deeper into study of the trailer, I realized that the true source of the power rested in the juxtaposition of pure comic book space opera with deliciously cheesy music, further enhanced by the fourth wall bending in which the music is present at times in the scenes themselves.

With this knowledge in hand, our real work can begin, pairing up seven of the best comic book series of the last twenty years with the cheesy earworm song that needs to be integrated into the trailer, when each of these series eventually gets an unlimited budget and green light from HBO. As an added bonus, I’ve indicated who should ideally play the lead. Again, this is a highly scientific process, and I don’t have the room in this space to show all of my equations.


1. Transmetropolitan: Warren Ellis has said that he’d envisioned Tim Roth for the role but I say Christopher Waltz would be the perfect Spider Jerusalem. And Spider should be introduced in the trailer, smoking, typing in a dark room, and then looking up with mad grin into the camera and giving some patented snark. All while Tom Jones sings Sex Bomb:


2. Hellblazer: There are reports that NBC is putting together a show, but I refuse to believe them because I hate them. So bear with me now, but David Tennant’s got the hair and the trenchcoat skill set, not to mention the madness tempered with glee and fury. Plus he’s British, you know, like the actual character and unlike Keanu Reeves. And with the sheer anarchism he embodies, the perfect song would be the Sex Pistols’ rendition of My Way, hands down. But that’s not an ear worm, so what would John Constantine play for you in a trailer composed solely of him standing in half darkness, the world on fire behind him, while his middle fingers raise at you, eyes gleaming above the omnipresent cigarette? There’s only one possibility.


3. Y: The Last Man: Say Shia LeBeouf in the comments and I will hard ban your IP address and send TK to burn your house down. When every man on earth dies at the same moment, leaving a single guy left on the planet, a kind of goofy guy with a heart of gold? That’s Andrew Garfield, not paying attention to the news of the apocalypse running on television in the background, the news anchor slumping as he himself dies. And Garfield is dancing with his monkey to Cyndi Lauper. That’s not a euphemism, non-comic readers.


4. Preacher: A preacher who has more in common with cowboys than priests, with a penchant for guns and whiskey, a particular blonde, and an Irish vampire for a best friend, Jessie Custer finds himself recipient of the divine power to order anyone to do anything. Including God himself. Don’t Stop Believing:


5. Lucifer Tom Hiddleston as the fallen first of the angels? Don’t think of him in Loki mode, think of him in his spectacular Henry V mode. Lucifer abandons hell, having lost faith in its purpose, and instead sets up a piano bar in Los Angeles. We see his mighty wings unfurled behind him in this trailer, as he sits alone, nursing a whiskey, in his club after closing. And a band of demons plays Margaritaville


6. The Boys The lead character was explicitly modeled after Simon Pegg, so it would be really quite nonsensical to not cast him, especially since he loves the comic. In a world filled with superheroes, who do as much collateral damage as good, a group of normal people does their best to keep them in line with an exceptional amount of violence. The trailer should be mostly composed of the opening scene of the comic, tweaked slightly so that Wee Hughie (Pegg) drops a coin in a jukebox, and dances with his girlfriend to Walking on Sunshine, not a care in the world. Up until the moment he finds himself holding only her disembodied arms. Yeah, it’s that kind of comic.


7. Sandman This one is easy. Benedict Cumberbatch is about the only man who could pull off Morpheus, Lord of Dreams, with that half alien look, explosion of black hair, and sonorous voice. And there’s only one song that should playing, over and over again on the radio crackling in the background as he sits in silence in an unbreakable prison in an English basement. Slowly zooming closer and closer, until the door of his prison cracks open and so do his blazing eyes.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • ellcoolj

    Transmet is my second favorite graphic series and would love to see it as a movie. I mean... it's a bad ass journalist armed with a bowel disrupter gun... what could be better.
    Y the last man takes my top spot.

    I could also see The DMZ as a series, but more for TV than as a feature film. The development of characters could be really deep.

  • loganbowes

    I literally just started reading Transmetropolitan about a week ago and I love it. Would be a very difficult one to pull off though, IMO. Would love it if it was. Honestly I kind of see Sam Rockwell in the lead

  • RobynRobotron

    Sam Rockwell is so awesome, but he's not tightly wound enough, IMO.

  • Sean

    Wow...never thought of him. Great call.

  • ed newman

    Quit giving all the good jobs to the Brits, Euros, and Aussies. Jesus, you can't spare even one role for an American! USA! USA! USA!

  • googergieger

    I love Warren Ellis. I liked The Boys. Y,umm, hindsight? Could have been better. But would probably make for a good series. Not a great one, but a good one.

  • misslucyjane

    I just got the chills from how good this is.

  • abell

    And now I have an erection. Thanks, Steve.

  • Stephen Nein

    Now that I dropped a deuce in the punchbowl . .

    Ex Machina screams for a trailer using "Get Lucky", starring Alan Cumming.

  • ellcoolj

    Yes!!! I totally see this...

  • Sean

    Alan Cumming in Ex Machina? wow....I thought JOhn Hamm.

  • Stephen Nein

    Mitchell Hundred is a deeply complex and ambiguous character. He's a handsome and sexy man, but ambiguous in his relationships with everyone. At the same time, he's deeply naive about the wolves inhabiting New York. I believe Alan can do it, but I've never seen the Hamm display that wide open-ness. (I don't watch Mad Men, my loss)

  • Stephen Nein

    Shia LaBeouf.

    And as a chaser, suck on this:

    *maniacal laughter*

  • BendinIntheWind

    I can't help it - I freaking love this movie. I rewatched it a few months ago for the first time in years, and my BRAIN EXPLODED when I found out there was a post-credits scene.

  • logan

    God help me but I love all these. Especially The Boys.

  • Sean

    You don't have to feel bad. They are great comics. Great stories. Better than 99 percent of movies and TV.

  • Afferbeck

    I forgot about those Lucifer comics, I really enjoyed those. Not sure it could really be a movie or series though, I'm sure religious nutjobs would have it vetoed.

  • That must be why no-one's ever made a movie or a TV series about Satan or Hell or demons. Damn those religious nutjobs, why must they always rain on the parade.

  • It's that "Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga Ooga-Chaka" that gets stuck in.

  • John G.

    I have never gotten into graphic novels. Of these listed, which should I start with?

    I prefer sci-fi themes and do not like superhero themes. Would Y:The Last Man be the first choice?

  • Preacher, no contest. Transmetropolitan is interesting, but does have a tendency to get up itself and your opinion of it will rest largely on your tolerance for thinly veiled versions of Hunter S. Thompson and his antics.

  • Sean

    Transmetropolitan or Preacher. Both are basically the ride of a lifetime. The only problem is that when you are done...there isn't anything that compares.

  • Stephen Nein

    Transmet, hands down.

  • Afferbeck

    I have read almost all of these, and I think Transmetropolitan has stuck with me the most. Y is a great choice though, it's crazy it hasn't become a cable series yet.

  • Sean

    They have tried to make movies of it for 10 years. A TV series makes much more sense. Hell, just to get to the last two or three episodes to watch everyone ball their eyes out.

  • Transmetropolitan, hands down. It's set a few hundred years in the future, and the main character is a journalist in the mold of Hitchens or Thompson. It is fantastic science fiction.

  • John G.

    just got it. Thanks!

  • BendinIntheWind

    "Preacher" so obviously needs a Johnny Cash song it's not even funny. GTFO Journey!

    ETA: I'm not the most well-versed in Johnny Cash, but my initial choice would be "Man in Black"

  • Sean

    I would think Delbert McClinton would suit Preacher better. More Texas.

  • You're absolutely right that Preacher needs Johnny Cash, but I was trying to restrict myself quite explicitly to very cheesy songs, and I would not call any of the Johnny Cash oeuvre cheesy in this way.

  • BendinIntheWind

    Fair enough - I think Jessie Custer himself may have a weak spot for cheese, but I draw the line at Journey. He would break a bottle over your face for that.

  • On the other hand, I could totally see Cassidy singing some Journey at Karaoke while Jessie drinks straight from the bottle.

  • Sean

    No, Cass is more of a Pogues kinda guy.

  • BendinIntheWind

    All of the Yes.

  • Ah, cheesy song for Jessie: All My Exes Live in Texas

  • Bananaranma

    Already used in Dawn of the Dead but When the Man Comes Around is as earwormy is Cash gets (and apocalyptic to boot)...

  • BendinIntheWind

    LOVED that opening!

  • Yocean

    Wholeheartedly with you on your choices for Y: The Last Man and Sandman (Others I am not too familiar but sounds amazing the way you describe).

  • Modernlove

    So I'm just really getting into reading comics, and now I'm adding all of these to my list. When I go broke, I'm coming for you.

  • RobynRobotron

    Do not wait to start Sandman, if you haven't already. It should be at the top of your list.

  • thebluestepside

    If you get a job as a Hollywood pitch man one day, you can look back on this article as the jumping off point. Great choices.

  • Boo_Radley

    Jessie Custer is obviously Walton Goggins, and anyone who disagrees is wrong. Wrong, I say.

  • Sean

    Jessie is 23-24 at the start of the series. And good looking. Goggins is not that. Goggins would be a hell of a Saint of Killers however.

  • Did you ever see 'Unforgiven?' Clint Eastwood would be perfect as The Saint of Killers.

  • Sean

    Not at 85.

  • Even at 85, Eastwood is still half again as badass as 90% of the actors working today.

  • Sean

    I just went back to check. Jesse is 17 when he meets Tulip. Tulip is 20. They are together for 2 years, stealing and loving. Then Jessie goes back and becomes a Preacher(not giving too much away here). Then the action starts 5 years later, around 1992/93 It can't be any later than that...because of Bill Hicks. So Jesse is 24. Tulip 27. Cass is a rough 25-30.

  • Point of order: Cass only -looks- 25-30. He's 'the same age as the century, mate.'

  • Sean

    Yes. I know. But being a vampire...

  • BendinIntheWind

    Ooooh, I had also imagined Olyphant, but I think I like this better.

  • This. Yes, this. I was toying with Olyphant, but it just didn't feel right, and then I see I neglected to put anyone in, which is convenient because no one would have been as good as Goggins.

  • Joe Grunenwald

    Let's not forget that Lucifer was a spin-out of Sandman. If Hiddleston as Lucifer and Cumberbatch as Morpheus appeared in the same movie together, I think Tumblr would devour itself.

  • noonoo

    War Horse.

  • Uriah_Creep

    True, they were both in War Horse, but it wasn't exactly the type of movie that would have ANYTHING devouring itself.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Which might not be a bad thing.

  • Way to wreck the curve, SLW. I'm sure the other Pajibans won't make it personal.

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